Monday, 22 October 2012

Apple Picking and the yummy consequences!

After an amazing Summer together we fell into a very VERY busy September back at work and school and it took until October 13th for us to spend an afternoon together.  It was (almost) a beautiful Autumn day so we headed up to a local apple orchard for some apple picking!

A really great day out but then of course we had to get to work making use of all those apples!

Ideas we wanted to make were apple sauce, some kind of apple and cranberry chutney (we still had lots of cranberries left over from a trip to Bala, Muskoka earlier in the year) and of course an apple crisp!

Another new project for us was canning - so thank you Canadian Tire for our supplies.  Armed with lots of empty jars we were ready to go!

We were very surprised with the pink colour of the apple sauce!  Taste was great so no complaints!

Next was apple and cranberry chutney.  We had a little trouble finding a recipe that we liked all parts of.  We didn't only want a cranberry sauce to spoon over turkey, we definitely wanted to seal them in the jars as we wanted to give some as Christmas presents!  Also a lot of recipes were a bit 'spicy' for us.  I don't like cinnamon or a heavy clove or nutmeg flavour so we tried to avoid that.  In the end we found this recipe here from BBC's Good Food website.  We loved it all so off to work we got!

The hardest part was keeping these secret until Christmas!!

All of our canning complete there was the mandatory apple crumble to make (maybe definitely doubled the crumble part of the recipe - thanks Mum for that recipe!) but boo we forgot to take photos of that, sorry!

And then with a few of the leftover apples I tried out a recipe I found on Pinterest but originally came from this blog here.  Armed with our mandolin (again, thank you generous wedding gifts for supplying us with endless kitchen utensils!) I got slicing.  A little sprinkling of sugar (no cinnamon please) and baked them all afternoon.  They were ADDICTIVE!  Like seriously addictive.  Just a shame they take so long to cook meant you couldn't just cook them when you got the craving - but perhaps my teeth thank me for that.  

We'll definitely make these again!

So a rather long post but after such a great day out and lots of projects following it I just had to!  Enjoy Autumn!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Plum and Almond Thanksgiving Tart

Happy Thanksgiving!  This week I celebrated my 4th Canadian Thanksgiving!  For me I love having the long weekend in October after what usually is a crazy back-to-school time in September and by this point having a weekend off is great news!  This year we spent the dinner at Jonathan's cousins house, celebrating Thanksgiving and a birthday in one meal!

I wanted to bake something to match the season and there was something I had been wanting to try for a while.  In a small 'Dessert' recipe book from my Grandma was a recipe for Plum and Almond Tart.  I had originally wanted to make it for a church lunch event but decided it a) might not slice into small squares well, and b) would probably be better warm so I had to wait.

Living a busy life with just the two of us - it is hard to justify baking a big cake or dessert without a reason - should we REALLY finish off a big cake just for ourselves in a regular week?  Maybe yes but likely no!!

So I had to wait until now to experiment with this recipe.

As the recipe was from a book and not the internet I scanned in the original page so you can see the recipe and get an idea of what the picture looked like (hopefully the scan is okay to view).

Double click for a bigger view of this picture - hopefully
you can read the recipe - let me know if you
want more details!

This was a FUN recipe to make.  Again, as in my Cherry Bakewell Tart post I made my own pastry.  I believe ready-made sweetcrust pastry is easier to find in English supermarkets but not here in Canadian grocery stores!  And so instead of searching multiple shops I decided it probably would be quicker just to make my own.  I tried Anna Olson's method of making pastry, rubbing the butter and flour between my hands, almost flattening it to create layers of butter within the pastry.  Seemed to work really well!  Thanks Anna!

I did omit the brandy from the recipe - didn't want to include this strong flavour in my tart as I LOVE the almond flavour so wanted to make sure that shone through.

After making the almond paste I was a little worried that there wouldn't be enough to fill up around the plums which definitely seemed bigger than the original picture in the recipe book.  Hmmm.  Surprising to me was the way it did fill up and puff around the plums.  It became slightly spongey whilst still being moist.  A different texture than I had baked before but with the almond flavour it tasted really good!  


Enjoy this tart warm with whipped cream... I certainly did!

Happy Thanksgiving!